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Amos 8:4-6


8:4 Listen to this, you who trample 1  the needy,

and do away with 2  the destitute in the land.

8:5 You say,

“When will the new moon festival 3  be over, 4  so we can sell grain?

When will the Sabbath end, 5  so we can open up the grain bins? 6 

We’re eager 7  to sell less for a higher price, 8 

and to cheat the buyer with rigged scales! 9 

8:6 We’re eager to trade silver for the poor, 10 

a pair of sandals 11  for the needy!

We want to mix in some chaff with the grain!” 12 

1 tn See the note on the word “trample” in 2:7.

2 tn Or “put an end to”; or “exterminate.”

3 sn Apparently work was prohibited during the new moon festival, just as it was on the Sabbath.

4 tn Heb “pass by.”

5 tn The verb, though omitted in the Hebrew text, is supplied in the translation from the parallel line.

6 tn Heb “sell grain.” Here “grain” could stand by metonymy for the bins where it was stored.

7 tn Here and in v. 6 the words “we’re eager” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

8 tn Heb “to make small the ephah and to make great the shekel.” The “ephah” was a unit of dry measure used to determine the quantity purchased, while the “shekel” was a standard weight used to determine the purchase price. By using a smaller than standard ephah and a heavier than standard shekel, these merchants were able to increase their profit (“sell less for a higher price”) by cheating the buyer.

9 tn Heb “and to cheat with deceptive scales”; NASB, NIV “dishonest scales”; NRSV “false balances.”

sn Rigged scales may refer to bending the crossbar or shifting the center point of the scales to make the amount weighed appear heavier than it actually was, thus cheating the buyer.

10 tn Heb “to buy the poor for silver.”

sn The expression trade silver for the poor refers to the slave trade.

11 tn See the note on the word “sandals” in 2:6.

12 tn Heb “The chaff of the grain we will sell.”

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